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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 7 October 2021) . . Page.. 2896 ..


(l) to add insult to injury, the pre-Budget announcement in health—promising 90 nurses, four ICU beds to be operational by 2023-24, the expansion of the Emergency Medical Unit and the Acute Medical Unit—is less than half of the promised 400 health care professionals, and along with the ICU beds will not be completely delivered until the next election; and

(2) calls on the ACT government to:

(a) recognise and acknowledge the phenomenal effort, dedication and courage of our healthcare workers, and ensure that they are properly resourced, supported and protected during this current COVID-19 outbreak;

(b) make a substantial capital investment to finally begin the Canberra Hospital rebuild, providing clinically appropriate facilities at the Canberra Hospital;

(c) outline the process for nurses seeking to re-enter the workforce to re-register, including what financial support will be provided by the Government;

(d) develop and implement a comprehensive health workforce strategy to establish a pipeline of highly skilled healthcare professionals to serve the ACT in the decades to come and to achieve the ratios promised at last year’s election, including a date by which the ratios will all be achieved; and

(e) report back to the Assembly by the last sitting day in November 2021 on progress on (2)(a)-(d).

This is the national capital; we meet here in the shadow of the Australian flag on Capital Hill. Sadly, the performance in health by this government is a national disgrace. I have spent 10 years hearing excuses from Labor health minister after Labor health minister. When I was first elected, it was Minister Gallagher, who said, “We’re working on it.” In fact, she said, “We’ve got a range of measures, I guess it’s frustrating though that it’s taking time.” You bet it is frustrating, Ms Gallagher; you bet it is. It is also frustrating that you left this place before you fixed it.

It was then Mr Corbell, who said, “We’re working on it.” It was then Ms Fitzharris, who said, “We’re working on it.” Now the current minister says, “We’re working on it.” After 20 years of Labor-Greens government, somebody must take responsibility.

At least the present minister has personally committed to fixing some of our health system woes, telling ABC News, on 31 January this year, in relation to emergency department wait times:

Our target and the national target is 70%. We are nowhere near that at this point in time.

The commitment then was:

70%—we want to get to that target within 9 months.

Minister, in all honesty, did you mean that or were they just throwaway lines? Are you saying whatever you need to say to get out of trouble? Today, Minister, on behalf


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